Following a two-year investigation, authorities have arrested nearly 900 suspects, and over 300 children have been identified or rescued. Many of the arrests came from a ‘dark net’ website buried deep within the internet dubbed ‘Playpen.’
The chase began back in December 2014, setting off a sweeping global probe into the users of the member-only forum. The forum included over 70,000 members and is thought to be the world’s largest pedophile ring in the world. The operation was dubbed “Operation Rescue” and according to officials, more children are expected to be found.
Included in those arrested were teachers, police officers, and even scout leaders. One Spanish man who was a summer youth camp worker is alleged to have abused around 100 children in the past five years. Arrests were made in Turkey, Peru, Chil, Ukraine, Israel and Malaysia, according to the FBI.
While speaking in regards to the matter, the E.U Commissioner for the Security Union, Sir Julian King stated,
“A hugely significant blow has been struck against one of the most heinous of crimes, arguably the worst of all, thanks to the excellent transnational cooperation of Europol with the FBI and US Department of Justice, as well as other law enforcement agencies around the world.”
The founder of the pedophile network known as Playpen, Steven. W. Chase, 58 has been sentenced to 30 years prison time. According to this disturbing site, he supposedly had over 150,000 worldwide, however, 70,000 were confirmed.
The FBI maintains that they have been aware of the existence of the operation since it was launched, however, they were unable to trace the website’s location and owner, as it was securely hidden on the dark web. The dark web is most known as the black market of the internet. While many know of it, it can only be accessed through special software like Tor.
However, now that investigators have unearthed the source, they will be able to continue forward with what could possibly be the biggest bust in history. Thankfully, we may now be able to rescue at least hundreds more, and jail much, much, more. Steve Wilson, the head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Center explained that law enforcement should proceed into the future using the same such methods that have been used to expose this massive ring. And we couldn’t agree more.